How Orolay rekindled consumer passion with the Drop

2 June 2023

Orolay X the Drop shop

When the temperature takes a nosedive, a down jacket is something to haul out of the closet. But for Chinese fashion brand Orolay, a down jacket is about much more than keeping warm: It’s about displaying a unique style and attitude.

Just one year after Orolay launched in 2012, they opened their Store on Amazon. In fewer than five years, Orolay was ranked among Amazon’s top 100 best sellers for women’s clothing 1, achieving popularity for their unique designs, high quality and solid customer service.

In March 2018, the Strategist, New York magazine’s online shopping site, found that Orolay’s 092 down jacket had quietly become a word-of-mouth phenomenon in the Upper East Side neighbourhood of New York City. 2 The Strategist dubbed it the “Amazon coat”, a name that caught on as media outlets from ABC to Fox and Reuters all reported on the explosive popularity of the 092 down jacket: Emma Stone was seen wearing it 3; Oprah listed it as one of her favourite things 4. During Prime Day 2020, Orolay sold 10,000 down jackets in two days, hitting a new record 5.

Since then, Orolay continued building a stronger position in North America and accelerating their expansion in Europe, Japan and Australia. But behind this rapid growth, one question became increasingly apparent: How could Orolay reproduce the phenomenon of the “Amazon coat”, finding the next game changer in brand marketing?

Incorporating the Drop in a marketing strategy

“We have always been looking for ways to reproduce the phenomenal success of 2018. We want to pass on our experience to other businesses looking to build their own brands, we also realize that products are the foundation for any successful marketing campaign,” says Junyi Ding, vice president of Orolay. “Without high-quality products, no matter how enticing the marketing may be, consumers will have no compelling reason to buy.”

Based on this philosophy, Orolay has taken two key steps. First, the brand crafted an independent product line based on the 092 down jacket to build on the “Amazon coat” legacy. Second, they drew upon new inspirations from consumer research insights to enrich their product collections and achieve growth across a wider range of offerings.

As the product strategy shifted, Orolay also experimented with new and fresh approaches to marketing. In 2018, event planner Katrina Hutchins held a charity event designed around her love for the “Amazon coat”: Attendees had to wear the 092 down jacket to the event, as well as donate a coat from the same collection. In 2020, Orolay began to support Hutchins, enhancing the brand’s influence and demonstrating their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Orolay carefully tracked subtle changes in consumer interests and shopping behaviours, using their observations to constantly explore new marketing approaches to bring more fun and stronger connections to consumers. In 2022, this approach led Orolay to work with the Drop, Amazon’s fashion brand program, to explore new brand marketing approaches in greater depth.

The “drop” model, referring to the limited-time release of limited collections, has gained popularity among fashion enthusiasts in recent years. In response to this new trend, Amazon launched the Drop in 2019, offering limited editions, fashion inspirations, exclusive collaborations and expert advice, all with the aim of helping fashion enthusiasts discover the latest trends and seasonal must-haves.

Orolay and the Drop quickly found they were a perfect match in their brand tonalities and fan characteristics. As Ding says, “Fans of the Drop and Orolay have a lot in common: They love fashion and follow trends closely. Our collaboration with the Drop was a fantastic experiment.”

Starting in November 2022, Orolay went on sale on the Drop for a limited period of five days. Thanks to traffic contributed from Amazon, the Drop, and fashion bloggers Orolay saw an order increase of 32% bringing a significant boost to their sales growth. In Q4 2022, Orolay’s search volume and share of voice (SOV) on Amazon hit a new record, surpassing their previous all-time peak in 2019.

Presenting new opportunities with fashion bloggers and livestreams

In their collaboration with the Drop, Orolay provided fashionable and inspirational designs, while fashion bloggers connected the brand to consumers searching for unique styles and attitudes. To maximize the strength of both the brand and the bloggers, Orolay, the Drop and Amazon Ads team worked together to jointly develop a holistic marketing plan, including multi-type ad serving on Amazon and social media, online brand building and a brick-and-mortar exhibition.

Orolay released a series of video on social platforms to recommend their products starting from the Prime Early Access Sale in October. After a careful review process, Orolay partnered with Blake Gifford and released a series of visually stunning photos and video ads. Not only is she a content creator with nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram, but more important, her confidence and style mesh with the brand’s spirit and she is able to communicate Orolay’s unique design to more viewers.

Gifford posted photos and videos on Instagram which received more than 10,000 likes and hundreds of enthusiastic comments. In addition, Amazon also posted the visuals on Instagram for the Drop (more than 460,000 followers) and Amazon fashion (more than 2.4 million followers), bringing streams of excited visitors to the Orolay and the Drop collaboration.

Orolay’s Store

Orolay’s Store

Beyond social media, Orolay and the Drop used livestreaming as a key point to reach consumers and attract traffic. During one Amazon livestream, fashion blogger Whitney Rife Becker introduced the collections in this collaboration between Orolay and the Drop in a number of everyday scenarios. A lot of fans and users liked the livestream and placed orders. Orolay also exhibited their offers in the Amazon Style, communicating brand value through authentic experiences to give more consumers the chance to understand and eventually fall in love with the brand.

Orolay and the Drop

Orolay and the Drop

By 2023, Orolay has grown increasingly sophisticated in leveraging key opinion leaders and celebrities. The brand has built up a strong roster of influencers on various social platforms and has established long-term relations with a growing list of key opinion leaders. At the same time, Orolay has widened their reach by combining influencer collaboration with other emerging trends like livestreams. According to incomplete statistics, there were more than 200 livestreams about Orolay on Amazon Live from October 2022 to January 2023. “More important, many hosts recommended Orolay to their followers out of pure trust and love of the brand,” says Yu Fu, Orolay’s executive director.

In addition, Orolay’s marketing team has been trying new advertising methods to appeal to a media landscape where video is increasingly playing the lead role. As Fu pointed out, “From the basic Sponsored Products to Sponsored Brands, from Amazon DSP to today’s Amazon Live, streaming TV and other video ads, Orolay always pays close attention to the latest offerings from Amazon Ads, matched by an annually growing budget.”

Orolay is continuing to focus more and more on widening their worldwide brand awareness. They have not only established warehouses in Europe and the U.S., but they are also planning to set up local operation teams to tap into new countries with more designs and styles specifically crafted for local markets. Orolay’s story reveals the key to success in an increasingly competitive landscape for brands going global: embracing the latest trends in the marketing landscape, understanding changes in consumer behaviour, and establishing a unique brand image and values that stand the test of time in an ever-changing world.